LOTTERY cash will help pay for a programme of events marking the centenary of the death of suffragette Emily Davison in the town where she was laid to rest.
A Heritage Lottery grant of almost £90,000 has been awarded to a special working group in Morpeth, Northumberland where the renowned women’s rights campaigner is buried in St Mary’s Churchyard.
The cash will support this summer’s Emily Inspires! programme of events, exhibitions, workshops and community activities, marking the 100th anniversary of her death in June 1913.
The lottery funding has been secured by the Greater Morpeth Development Trust for what is described as “once in a lifetime” chance to record Emily Davison’s unique place in history.
It will go towards a series of summer events and activities including:
A parade of 100 women cyclists into Morpeth from Longhorsley, where Emily’s mother lived, and a commemorative procession retracing the journey of her coffin from the town’s railway station to the churchyard.
A memorial service in St Mary’s Church with speeches by Baroness Helena Kennedy QC and Eleanor Mills, associate editor of the Sunday Times.
Activities by young people at Beamish and Woodhorn museums to research, re-enact and debate the life and legacy of Emily, together with similar work in Newcastle.
The publication of two new books about Emily, one by Morpeth genealogist Maureen Howes and the other by American author Carolyn Collette.
A series of exhibitions, including one featuring the suffragette scarf believed to have been worn by Emily at Epsom on the day she suffered her fatal injuries.
She died in hospital four days after running out in front of King George V’s horse, Anmer, in the 1913 Derby. Already, a commemorative plaque has been unveiled at Tattenham Corner on the Epsom Downs racecourse and a new play inspired by Emily’s life – To Freedom’s Cause – will be premiered in Morpeth next month.
The Emily Inspires! working group includes Morpeth councillors, representatives from the development trust and other groups and a number of local people.
More than 100 of her descendants from all over Britain and Europe and as far away as Australia are expected to travel to Morpeth for the centennial weekend in June. Yesterday David Lodge, trust chief executive, said: “This year represents a once in a lifetime opportunity to record Emily’s unique place in history and this generous Heritage Lottery grant will go a long away towards helping us do that in the most imaginative and exciting ways. For 100 years there has been a great deal of misunderstanding and misinformation about what happened to Emily on that fateful day at Epsom, and one of the top priorities of our group is to ensure that the true story about Emily, her intentions and achievements is told during this centennial year.
“While it is important that we do that nationally, we also want the whole community in and around Morpeth to engage with our Emily Inspires! programme because her story has a special place in the history of the town and Northumberland.
“Emily left a legacy that is still as relevant today as it was at the time of her death and we’re delighted to have the support of the Heritage Lottery.”
Full details of Emily Inspires! can be found at http://emilyinspires.co.uk/